Prenatal Health & Nutrition

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Friday, 14 February 2014 00:31

20 Prenatal Exercise Tips

Mummy Trainer's Top Twenty Pregnancy Exercise Tips

Exercising during your pregnancy has many benefits, and not just for you but for baby too!

Even though you may want to exercise during this period, mums-to-be can often find that there is so much conflicting advice about which exercise is safe to do. Some friends and family are telling you to put your feet up and rest and you may find that you end up doing just that!

Well I’m here to give you some great advice on exercising during your pregnancy. Follow these tips to enjoy exercising safely during your pregnancy and to ultimately get fit for birth!

 1Cardio vs Strength Exercise-What is the best? The benefits of weights based strength training outweigh the benefits of just sticking with a walking program during pregnancy. Strength training increases lean muscle tissue and fat burning hormones. And due to a higher heart rate lifting weights you still get a cardiovascular benefit from a specific strength session.

2Avoid all Exercises that will increase a Diastasis (that’s pregnancy abdominal muscle separation if you have not heard the term before). A quick guide of exercises to avoid are:- crunches, Pilates 100’s and table tops, frontal planks, twisting movement. For more information have a look at my guides on preventing Diastasis During Pregnancy.

3You don’t have to purchase a heart-rate monitor to exercise safely during your pregnancy. Listening to your own body is a much better guide. We are all different and heart rates vary quite considerably during pregnancy. By using your own body as a guide you will stay in your aerobic (safe) zone which is approx. 70-80% intensity.  For more information on the correct intensity to exercise at during pregnancy check out my video link.  


4. Reduce your pre-pregnancy exercise duration by 10% during the first trimester, approx. 15-20% Second Trimester and approx. 30%-40% in the last Trimester. Everyone is different so listen to your body!

5If you are managing to exercise regularly, try to make sure you have a rest week every 6 weeks. This ensures that your body adapts and recovers. As a rule of thumb, for each hour you exercise have the equivalent rest  

6. Wear exercise gear that is comfortable; clothing that is too tight or restrictive will increase abdominal discomfort.

7. Keeping hydrated during pregnancy is very important: Aim to consume 2 litres of water a day, and add an extra 750mls for each hour you exercise.

8. Women who exercise during pregnancy tend not to show until 20+ weeks especially with first pregnancies. This is completely normal, so ignore comments from others suggesting you are too small! 

9Ensure you include corrective exercise at each stage during your pregnancy to maintain good pregnancy posture. Good alignment will help you carry your pregnancy much more efficiently and give your baby more room to grow and move.

10It’s a good idea not to start anything new, so just because you have read that swimming is good for pregnant women, if you have never swam before then its not a good time to start.

11If you feel any pain during your exercise you need to stop, especially if in your abdomen or pelvis. If pain continues, talk with your lead maternity care provider immediately.

12If any bleeding, nausea, or vomiting occurs you need to stop and you should not exercise again until you are cleared to do so


13. No KEGELS! Yes thats right continuos squeezes and holding of this muscle can over strengthen the muscle too much causing a muscle imbalance. For optimal strength and to prepare your pelvic floor muscle for birth and beyond then addressing alignment and performing squats are much more beneficial: READ MORE INFORMATION- No Kegels! 

14Do not participate in any contact sports after 14 weeks or exercise if labor has started and been stopped with medication before 34 weeks.15. Always make sure the conditions in which you are exercising are safe: avoid uneven terrain, wet floors, rooms that are too hot.

16. Whoever you choose to follow to help with your exercise program be that a personal trainer or a yoga instructor make sure that they have many years of experience training pregnant clients and have been through the journey themselves. Try to avoid following large fan based groups on media sites that have very little experience and qualifications.

17. Always be in contact, don’t go anywhere without your mobile phone, especially after 35 weeks!

18. You can eat within 60mins of exercising during your pregnancy as the intensity you train at is not hard. So if you are hungry before a training session snack on a banana or a handful of nuts.

19. From 30 weeks it can be hard to get your trainers on, I found that my old tri shoes with elastic laces where a godsend so swap your laces for elastic ones so you can just slip them on.

20. Maintaining your Exercise during your entire pregnancy can be hard, so enlist in the help of others if needed to keep you motivated..

Healthy mums have healthy babies. Exercise really is safe for you during your pregnancy and you and your baby will definitely benefit from your efforts.

If you have any more questions or want to follow my specific pregnancy program Fit2BirthMum check out my website 

Further Reading:

Prevent Diastasis During Pregnancy

Second Trimester Exercise Guidelines

Yoga & Pilates Are They Tummy Safe


If you feel any pain or discomfort whilst exercising, stop. If pain continues consult you L.M.C or G.P. The information included in this article has been written by Lorraine Scapens: She is not able to provide you with medical advice, information is used as guide. You cannot hold Lorraine liable in any way for any injuries that may occur whilst training.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 19:24

How To Have A Pain Free Pregnancy

I always recommend these 3 steps to my clients and customers so that they too can experience and enjoy a pain free pregnancy just like I did.

1. Sleeping Position

Often during the first and early second trimesters women don’t assume that they need to change or modify their sleeping position. However, due to a large amount of pregnancy hormones released into the system, which affects the strength of ligaments and the muscles supporting the pelvis, if you are a side sleeper then it is best to follow my advice below to prevent pain. 

Add a Pillow

If a women is a side sleeper from the start of her pregnancy it really helps to get used to sleeping with a pillow under the knee with the knee in front of the body, so not a pillow between the legs.

What you need to do to reduce discomfort is raise the knee inline with your pelvis so that the upper leg is horizontal. This reduces the pull on the lengthened muscle fibers reducing aches.

If the knee is not supported, the angle from the hip to knee increases, adding stress on one side, weakening the muscle and ligaments further often resulting in discomfort and then pain.

Women have become pain free overnight just by adding a pillow to support their knee! Not that this happens for everybody instantly; you have to try it and see.

As your pregnancy progresses you need to adjust the pillow height so that your leg remains horizontal. During my last pregnancy I actually used a specific pillow to do this job and  found it worked very well.

More Relief for You!

By opening up the pelvis using a pillow to support the knee it reduces pressure on your internal organs and you may find that you have less toilet visits during the night!

If you are a tummy or back sleeper you can adopt this position when you start sleeping on your side.

2. Posture

Poor posture will increase pain during pregnancy. Poor posture stresses the musculoskeletal system when not pregnant but its effects are much worse during pregnancy thanks to the hormones progesterone and estrogen.

It is therefore important that you try to address any bad posture habits from the start or prior to conceiving.  

Improving your posture will not only prevent pain but will also give baby more room to grow, move, and allow you to carry your pregnancy much more efficiently.

Why Good Posture is Important

Poor posture results in muscle imbalances and as females we constantly sit with our legs crossed or stand with one hip pushed out to the side. Its these bad standing and carrying habits that lead to muscle imbalances. This puts extra stress on one side of the sacroiliac joint* which often results in pain.


If you continue to stand on one hip or carry small children for long periods of time then the muscles on this side become very weak and can no longer support the pelvis which destabilizes the sacroiliac joint on the one side resulting in pain.

Try and think about the following points over the next few days:

  • Stop slouching, instead sit up straight and lift your chest up.
  • When you stand avoid pushing your stomach and head forward, think that you have a piece of string attached to the top of your head pulling you upwards.
  • Avoid carrying children and babies on one hip or standing with one hip hitched to the side.Try to have your weight evenly balanced and carry small children with their legs wrapped around your waist.
  • Avoid sitting with your legs crossed during your entire pregnancy!

3. Exercise

Corrective exercise to help address the above muscle imbalances and poor posture are a must for every pregnant woman.

By strengthening weak muscles throughout a pregnancy with correct exercises will reduce and prevent pain. Concentrating on exercises that strengthen your glute muscles (that's your butt) will significantly help stabilize your pelvis. Strengthening weak core muscles will help correct your posture.

The exercises that can help are not hard exercises. They are simple and easy to do once you know how. They don’t even take up too much time! Just 10 minutes a day is all that is needed.

The programs I have created that I sell on my website are not just any safe exercises that have been thrown together just because they look good. Instead they are specific exercises to prevent pain during pregnancy.


Of course there are exceptions. Often at certain times during a pregnancy, during weeks 11-13, weeks 21-23, and weeks 30-33, there is a surge of hormones which can lead to your lower back aching as the ligaments start to stretch, preparing your body for your growing baby, labor and birth. This type of lower back discomfort is different as it normally lasts only 2-3 days and will be quite concentrated around the sacroiliac joint with the pain often disappearing. This is pregnancy hormonal back pain.

Alternative Therapies

Many women will visit chiropractors and or osteopaths to help ease back pain. This is great and these practitioners can work wonders, but you have to address why the pain has occurred and what to do to prevent it. If you can get regular pregnancy massage this will also help as it can reduce muscle tension.

To enjoy a pain free pregnancy change your habits:

Adjust your sleeping position, change and correct poor posture and enjoy regular corrective exercise.

Further reading:

Reduce Back pain during pregnancy:

*Sacroiliac Joint:

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